Sun, sand and summer reading

By Emily Eiermann
eiermanne@theridernews.com

Summer is fast approaching, and frequent trips to the beach and other lounging activities sometimes require a bit of mental stimulation. For those at a loss for the next great read, here is Rider’s unofficial summer reading list to keep the mind active during the lazy summer days.

TEEN DRAMA

With the light-hearted tone of summer, sometimes deep, elaborate books are pushed aside to make way for easier, fun ones. For an easy read that supports a ‘00 Rider alum, there is Lindsay Faith Rech’s third book, “It Started with a Dare.”
The novel follows 15-year-old CJ Silverman as she moves from Philadelphia to a small town, where she knows no one. Luckily, she befriends the most popular girl in school and suddenly her life is flipped upside down. She struggles with acceptance, lies and all of the dramatics of high school in a book that addresses important subjects while still maintaining a strong sense of humor. CJ’s life quickly spirals out of control in a way that is relatable to people of all ages who remember what it was like to want to fit in during their high school years.
“I really just wanted to write a fun, character-based novel that could cut through all the B.S. of high school in an edgy and hopefully original way,” Rech said. “The process of creating [the characters] and their stories is enchanting, and they often end up leading me in directions that I never intended to take them.”
The book is geared more toward the female population, but the issues pertain to all audiences. At only a little over 300 pages, it is a book that could easily be read on a day at the beach or during a rainy afternoon, featuring an engaging story and dynamic characters.

SCIENCE FICTION

Never Let Me Go” by Kazuo Ishiguro is a science fiction novel, featuring clones with a psychological twist. The clones grow up in a boarding school called Hailsham in contemporary England, going through the same emotions and coming-of-age steps as everyone does in adolescence. The book follows the lives of three of the students as they grow up in school, move out and eventually struggle to accept their purpose in life: to donate their organs to people born organically. It includes all the basic elements of a good coming-of-age novel, including romance, a struggle for self-acceptance and an inability to accept fate.
The novel is a classic, assigned as a required summer reading assignment to the Baccalaureate Honors freshmen in the fall 2009 semester, and has been made into a movie. It hits close to home to stir up the emotions of the more realistic readers, while still being farfetched enough to capture the attention of the sci-fi fans.

CRIME/ACTION

This one, by Swedish author Stieg Larsson, is the first book of the “Millennium Series.” It is called “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” It opens with Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist, undergoing a trial for libel and ultimately losing the case, costing him his job and his lifestyle. This part of the book is slow and filled with legal terms and detailed background information and can be difficult to get through. However, Blomkvist soon accepts a case as a writer and private investigator, of sorts, and the action steadily picks up speed. He is joined by a troubled youth who is intelligent and wise beyond her years. Toward the middle of the book, the reader gets whisked on a whirlwind of excitement and adventure, making the book well worth a read.
Though it was released in 2005, the novel is perfect to read over the summer. It is being adapted to the big screen in the U.S at the end of this year.

FANTASY

Following a growing trend of books being made into movies, the last book in the famous Harry Potter series, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” made the list. With the movie set for release in July, it’s the last chance before the final film to read the end of the series that was a staple to a generation. The series follows an abused orphan boy, Harry Potter, who discovers that he is a wizard. The final book pulls him from the familiar settings of his muggle house and the comforts of Hogwarts and throws him into foreign territory as he searches for horcruxes and comes to a final confrontation with villain, Lord Voldemort.
Many people have formed a fond attachment to the series, having grown up alongside Harry. Those who have read the books from the beginning have followed his life closely, sharing his triumphs, failures, joy and sadness. The series is a good choice for anyone whose life needs a bit of magic, with the added bonus of solid writing and well-developed, relatable characters.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE/POETRY

Patricia Mosto, Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences came out with her second Spanish book of poetry, titled “Territorios.”
This book discusses environmental issues in Argentina. The first half focuses on physical issues facing the environment today, coming from the point of view of an environmental scientist. The second half, “Territorios intimos,” features more emotions and thoughts, describing a journey taking place internally. Mosto’s favorites include “La Noche,” “Llora,” “Danza” and “El verano.”

“Poetry was a great way for me to disclose my feelings and provide a great outlet for my creativity,” Mosto said. “In the past, I found my best poetry was written on rainy days, looking through the window outside, or in the very early mornings or late evening in the summer, sitting under my big cherry tree in my backyard. Since starting my job as a dean here at Rider, it has become more and more difficult to find the calm environment I need to write.”

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